1st Edition

Chinese Revolution in Practice From Movement to the State

By Guo Wu Copyright 2024

    This book employs multiple case studies to explore how the Chinese communist revolution began as an ideology-oriented intellectual movement aimed at improving society before China’s transformation into a state that suppresses dissenting voices by outsourcing its power of coercion and incarceration.

    The author examines the movement’s methods of early self-organization, grass-roots level engagement, creation of new modes of expression and popular art forms, manipulation of collective memory, and invention of innovative ways of mass incarceration. Covering developments from 1920 to 1970, the book considers a wide range of Chinese individuals and groups, from early Marxists to political prisoners in the PRC, to illustrate a dynamic, interactive process in which the state and individuals contend with each other. It argues that revolutionary practices in modern China have created a regime that can be conceptualized as an “ideology-military-propaganda” state that prompts further reflection on the relationships between revolution and the state, the state and collective articulation and memory, and the state and reflective individuals in a global context.

    Illustrating the continuity of the Chinese revolution and past decades’ socialist practices and mechanisms, this study is an ideal resource for scholars of Chinese history, politics, and twentieth-century revolutions.

    Introduction 1. Yun Daiying's Social Engagement and Political Transformation, 1917–1921  2. Political Education in Land Reform and Military Training Under the CCP  3. Historiography, Memory, and Myth in Maoist China  4. The Social Construction and Deconstruction of Evil Landlords in Contemporary Chinese Fiction, Art, and Collective Memory  5. Extrajudicial Incarceration during the Cultural Revolution  6. Ritual, Reading, and Resistance in the Prison and Cowshed during the Cultural Revolution. Conclusion


    Guo Wu is an associate professor of history at Allegheny College, USA. His main research interests include modern Chinese nationalism, southern ethnic minority studies, and the Chinese communist revolution. His most influential books include Zheng Guanying: Merchant Reformer of Late Qing China and His Influence on Economics, Politics, and Society (2010).